How do you select parishes/schools to have missionaries?
We look for parishes/schools that are understaffed in reaching their youth with the Gospel for whatever reason. Some are understaffed because of finances; others because of historical factors; still others because of parish culture and dynamics. Finally, we look for leadership that is desiring to reach their youth despite these obstacles and are willing to move toward a long-term solution for youth/campus ministry over time.
How do you select missionaries?
As best as we are able, we try to let the Holy Spirit guide our discernment through prayer. Beyond that we consider a number of factors including best matching strengths of candidates with needs of parishes/schools; male/female ratio of missionaries; and certain discipleship qualities. We recruit far and wide and from all educational backgrounds. That being said, we do give preference to sons and daughters of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and we give preference for studies / experience related to ministry.
What are the steps of applying to be a Missionary Parish?
As with Missionary selection, we try to remain docile to the Holy Spirit as to where we are being called to send missionaries. Usually, there is a preliminary conversation between the Youth Office and the Pastor at a parish. This may be followed up by more detailed conversations with the Pastor, Parish Staff and/or Parish Council as needed to understand the vision, mission, scope, and details of VIA Missionaries. Once a parish discerns that they would like to apply as a VIA Missionary parish, the pastor or parochial vicar will complete the online Parish Application. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Applications are reviewed, prayed through and parishes are notified of candidacy no later than Feb. 1st. Candidacy simply means that we are hoping to send the parish missionaries that next academic year. However, ability to send missionaries is dependent on the final recruiting numbers. Candidate parishes are notified as to whether they will in fact be receiving missionaries on or before May 3rd. Various other factors influence parish candidacy such as leadership’s commitment to long-term youth ministry, proximity to other current/potential Missionary Parishes (housing concern), commitment to disciple-making youth ministry, and more; see the previous question: How do you select parishes/schools to have missionaries?
What other expectations are there for a Missionary Parish?
For a more complete list of expectations please see our Missionary Parish Agreement. Highlights of this document include:
-Commitment to two missionaries for two years
-Space for missionaries to meet with youth on a regular basis and office space for them to complete administrative tasks and work with the rest of the parish staff.
-Moving toward resourcing youth ministry full-time after the two years
-Financial responsibility of $7,000-$10,000/year for operational budget of the youth ministry and to offset a portion of the formation costs of the missionaries.
-Recruitment of 5-8 volunteers to be trained and serve alongside the missionaries as part of the youth ministry team.
-Names and contact info of 25-50 families that the missionaries would be able to approach about supporting them and the ministry financially.
-Regular meeting and mentoring time on the part of the Pastor or Parochial Vicar with the Missionaries.
What if I (the Pastor) or my parish leadership still have questions?
By all means, please reach out to us: firstname.lastname@example.org. We are more than happy to schedule a time to chat on the phone or in person and are also willing to meet and/or present to your parish staff or pastoral council as needed
How do the finances of it all work?
This is a great question and the answer highlights the commitment of so many people to make ministry that wasn’t before possible, now possible. The Missionaries themselves support-raise prayer and financial support to cover their salary and a small portion of their formation costs. This is done heavily through their own personal network, but also the network of at their Missionary Parish. The parish then is asked to cover the cost of an operational budget for the youth ministry, about $2,000-$5,000 depending on the parish size and vision. The parish is also asked to offset a portion of the formation costs to the Office for Youth Evangelization and Discipleship at the cost of $2,500/year/missionary. These two items seek to highlight a parish’s commitment to youth ministry and to well-formed missionaries while building the foundation for resourcing youth ministry long-term. The remainder of the formation costs, payroll costs and housing are then covered by the Youth Office through a combination of our annual budget and specific benefactors who are particularly supporting VIA Missionaries at an Archdiocesan level.